IELTS Listening

IELTS writing

There are foursections in the Listening part of IELTS. The Listening part is the same for both the General and Academic IELTS.

In Section 1, you hear 2 people speaking. It’s a social, informal conversation.It might be associated with dates, times and arrangements. There could be changes of dates and times during the conversation.

In Section 2, you will hear one person speaking about a general topic. A common question is summary completion and/or sentence completion.

In Section 3, you will hear four people speaking about an academic subject.

In Section 4, you will hear one person giving a lecture, also on an academic subject.


Here are the types of listening questions in IELTS Listening:

  • Completing a form / note / summary / flow-chart/table
  • Short answer questions
  • Sentence completion
  • Labelling a map, plan or diagram
  • Matching
  • Multiple choice


The most important skills for IELTS Listening are:

  • Understanding context
  • Identifying speakers
  • Identifying categories
  • Recognizing paraphrase
  • Identifying distractors
  • Understanding position and directions (map)
  • Understanding position and movement (process)
  • Understanding a person’s opinion, suggestions and decision
  • Identifying the main idea and details of a lecture
  • Understanding numbers and letters


Here’s a Strategy to manage the Listening part of IELTS:

  • In all Sections of IELTS Listening, you will hear an introduction before the Listening starts. You will learn the context from the introduction.
  • For example: You will hear a man and a woman speaking about college courses.
  • Listen carefully and answer questions 1 to 5.
  • After the introduction ofthe listening, you will have a short time to read the questions.
  • Read and study the questions during this short break.


Practice listening to different types of accents and voices (male and female).

80% of accents in IELTS listening are British and Australian; 20% are American and Canadian.Check out videos on accents and intonation to help develop your comprehension.


Identifying Categories

In a table question, you need to complete the table. First, read the headings in the table to make sure you understand what to listen for in the audio.


Using Paraphrase

Learning synonyms (words with the same meaning) is important to recognize paraphrase during the audio. In IELTS listening, ideas are often repeated or paraphrased.In the questions, ideas are often paraphrased too,so listen out for this. For example: We hear a man in the audio say, ‘’I’m thinking about changing my job’’.

In the question, we read:

a) The man is considering changing his work.

b) The man is thinking about his job.

c) The man will change his job.


Identifying Distractors

Distractors are answers that are incorrect. Distractors may include words that sound similar to the correct answers. For example: What time is the meeting?

a) Eight thirty

b) Eight thirteen

c) Nine thirty


Understanding position and direction:

During Map or Plan questions, you must label a map as you listen to the audio.You need to understand language for directions.

Marking the way with a highlighter or with a pen on the map as you listen to the audio will help you label the map.

Watch out for distractors, such as references during the listening to extra buildings or information on the map not related to the questions.


Understanding Process and Movement

During flow chart or process questions in listening, you may need to label the parts of a device or a machine. You often heartypical words such as:

Activate, Turn, Hold, Pull, Push, Spin, Hit, Wrap, Wind, Place, Generate, Force, and Rotate


We often use prepositions of place and position:

Place the rope around the object.

Put it inside the machine.

Turn the box upside-down.

The water runs through a tube.

The cart moves along the track.


Understanding dates, numbers and letters

Practice your letters and the English alphabet.and review all your numbers for dates, times and figures before doing the IELTS Listening Test.

Warning! In IELTS listening, the speaker sometimes changes his/her mind. He/she might change a date, time or location so listen actively for any changes during the audio.